Monday, May 20, 2024

India Poised to Become Global Leader in Lab-Grown Diamonds

Mumbai, India – India, already renowned as the world’s leading manufacturer of polished natural diamonds, is rapidly emerging as a major force in the lab-grown diamond sector. The country’s production capacity has increased exponentially in recent years, fueling a surge in polished lab-grown diamond exports.


Despite a significant decline in lab-grown diamond prices, which have fallen by as much as 70-90% in some categories, the industry in India continues to thrive. Smit Patel, a director of Greenlab Diamonds and organizer of the Gem & Jewellery Export Promotion Council’s Lab-Grown Diamond Subcommittee, highlights the industry’s remarkable expansion, evident in the growing number of growers, reactors, and workers employed in cutting and polishing.


Export data from the GJEPC corroborates this trend. In 2023, exports of polished lab-grown diamonds from India increased by over 50% in volume, reaching 6.45 million carats. While the value of these exports decreased by 20% due to falling prices, the overall growth trajectory remains positive. Similarly, imports of lab-grown rough diamonds also rose by 31% in volume, demonstrating the industry’s robust appetite for raw materials.

Industry experts emphasize that the price decline was anticipated by most new entrants and factored into their business plans.

Technological advancements and economies of scale have enabled well-managed operations to maintain profitability even at lower price points.

Vijay Desai, a committee member of Surat’s Lab-Grown Diamond Association, highlights the city’s significant investments in the sector, with at least 8,000 lab-grown diamond machines currently in operation. Surat, along with Mumbai and Jaipur, are emerging as key centers for lab-grown diamond production in India.

Estimates suggest that India now possesses between 8,000 to 10,000 reactors, primarily utilizing the chemical vapor deposition (CVD) process. This represents a substantial increase from just a few years ago, highlighting the rapid pace of expansion.

The decline in natural diamond polishing has further fueled the growth of the lab-grown diamond sector. Nearly 90% of companies previously focused on natural diamonds have now entered the lab-grown space, with larger players diversifying their operations and smaller companies shifting entirely to lab-grown diamonds.

Nirav Jogani of Lemon Consultech, a leading industry consultancy, observes a growing consolidation within the lab-grown diamond sector, with several major player groups emerging. He emphasizes that despite the price decline, the industry remains bullish due to reasonable margins and vast untapped potential.

Kira Diam, claiming to be the world’s largest CVD lab-grown diamond grower, exemplifies this optimism. With over 2,000 reactors at its massive Surat facility, the company boasts an extensive inventory and plans to launch a new jewelry line at the Las Vegas show this year.
Greenlab, another major player, reports impressive growth driven by significant demand, particularly from the U.S., India, the Middle East, and the Far East.

Industry experts believe that the current figures represent only a fraction of the market’s potential. As technology continues to improve and specialized niches develop, the lab-grown diamond sector is poised for further expansion.

Looking ahead, the fashion accessories segment is seen as a promising new frontier for lab-grown diamonds. This sector demands unique sizes, cuts, and colors, prompting research and development efforts tailored to its specific requirements.

Nirav Jogani emphasizes the need for a distinct identity for the lab-grown diamond industry, urging manufacturers to embrace innovation and cater to the fashion jewelry space rather than mimicking the natural diamond industry.

Both Smit Patel and Nirav Jogani also highlight the potential of industrial applications in electronics, mining, and space exploration to drive future growth in the lab-grown diamond sector.

With its rapidly expanding production capacity, innovative spirit, and growing global presence, India is well positioned to become the world leader in lab-grown diamonds.


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